NBA

Fri, Apr 12, 2013 - 10:00 PM ET
Game Preview
 

Thunder-Trail Blazers Preview

Share This Story

   
 

A visit from the Oklahoma City Thunder might not present the ideal opportunity for the Portland Trail Blazers to avoid setting a club record for consecutive home losses.

Mired in a nine-game overall skid, the Trail Blazers look to avoid a seventh straight home defeat and a season sweep at the hands of the Western Conference-leading Thunder on Friday night.

If missing the playoffs for a second consecutive season wasn't bad enough, Portland (33-45) is in the midst of its longest overall losing stretch since dropping 11 in a row March 14-April 2, 2006. The current slide also includes a six-game skid at home to match the longest such drought in the club's history.

Attempting to end both losing streaks likely won't be easy against Oklahoma City (58-21), which has won six in a row overall against the Trail Blazers and three straight at the Rose Garden. The Thunder moved one-half game ahead of San Antonio in the race for the top seed in the West with a 116-97 win at playoff-bound Golden State on Thursday.

Oklahoma City has won two straight, eight of 10, and just concluded a 5-1 stretch against teams above .500 or who have already clinched a playoff spot.

"Our approach was to embrace the challenge,'' Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "And I think our guys have done a good job of that.''

Now they must try to avoid a letdown against the Blazers, who fell to 0-4 on a five-game homestand after a 113-106 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday. Though Portland totaled more than 98 points for the first time in six home contests, they allowed Kobe Bryant to score a season-high 47 and the Lakers to shoot 58.9 percent overall.

Though Portland opponents have averaged 108.3 points and shot 51.7 percent in the last nine games, coach Terry Stotts was happy with his team's latest performance.

"It was a very good effort by our team, but unfortunately we couldn't pull it out,'' he said.

With starters Wesley Matthews (ankle), J.J. Hickson (back) and Nicolas Batum (shoulder) all dealing with injuries that could keep them sidelined again Friday, the Trail Blazers continue to rely on guard Damian Lillard.

Averaging a rookie-best 19.1 points per contest, Lillard went toe-to-toe with Bryant and finished with a career-high 38 and added nine assists Wednesday.

"He's spectacular ... really fantastic,'' Bryant said of the sixth overall pick. "A lot of players get hot, but he's got the moves, patience, intelligence, the balance on his jumpers. He's the real deal.''

Lillard has averaged 16.3 points but shot 38.8 percent in three games versus Oklahoma City. He was held to nine on 3-of-14 shooting in the Trail Blazers' 87-83 home loss to the Thunder on Jan. 13.

Kevin Durant had 31 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists while Kevin Martin scored 23 off the bench as the Thunder shot 50.6 percent and outscored the Warriors 36-23 in the third quarter to pull away.

Durant has totaled 52 points on 16-of-26 shooting, 22 boards and 17 assists in his last two games. He's posted two double-doubles against the Trail Blazers this season and averaged 30.3 points and shot 54.4 percent in the last three at Portland.

Tagged: Lakers, Trail Blazers, Thunder, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by


NBA Videos

NBA considering mid-season Vegas tournament? Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Adam Silver confirms the NBA has engaged in early conversations about the possib...

LeBron and Blatt 'will work together beautifully' Posted: Jul 14, 2014
Cavaliers head coach David Blatt on LeBron James' decision to return to Clevelan...

LeBron's back and so are the Cavs Posted: Jul 11, 2014
FOX Sports 1's Gary Payton weighs-in on LeBron's decision to return to Cleveland...

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Clippers/browse/featuredproduct/491845/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_491000/ff_491845_xl.jpg&w=100 59.95 adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red
    adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/498609/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_498000/ff_498609_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black
    adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Knicks/browse/featuredproduct/620470/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_620000/ff_620470_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey..
    Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Antonio_Spurs/browse/featuredproduct/692239/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_692000/ff_692239_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat
    Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Lakers/browse/featuredproduct/851828/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851828_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black
    Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/851842/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851842_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White
    adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/890174/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890174_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Wh..
    adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room Flex Hat - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/890384/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890384_xl.jpg&w=100 19.99 adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room F..